To Sell More, Keep Your Cool

Last Updated Apr 9, 2010 2:28 PM EDT

Sales Machine reader "AlexanderGraf" writes:
I could use a little bit of improvement on is getting over excited when I get a big prospect on the line. The challenge is not getting too over excited that you finally landed the prospect and falter on proven sales techniques.
I sympathize because I used to do the same thing, not with sales situations, but when I used to interview billionaire CEOs.

For example, when I had a one-on-one interview with Oracle CEO Larry Ellison about 10 years ago, I totally clutched and failed to ask the question that would have made him squirm -- and resulted in a great story. (Ellison had just hired President Clinton's scandal-trained press secretary.)

I've since overcome that tendency to get nervous, using three techniques:

  • #1: Rehearse. I simply rehearse the conversation ahead of time. If I do this enough times (like 15 or 20), my mouth still would do the right thing, even if the rest of me was freaking out.
  • #2: Breathe. I've found that I can draw on my experience with martial arts and yoga to calm my body and maintain better control. Presumably other breath-control disciplines would work, too.
  • #3: Disconnect. The reasons you're excited is that you're thinking about the goal rather than the process. I discuss this problem (and how to fix it) in "Sales Goals Can Be Your Worst Enemy."
Finally, there's no question that experience helps. The more you sell, the less excited you get over the prospect of closing a particular deal. That, by itself, makes it easier to sell.

READERS: Any other suggestions?